Sunday, January 28, 2007

Me and my job

Passing the OCM was a major accomplishment for me, a milestone in my career path. Hence my continued excitement; I have not had this strong of a sense of achievement... since... for a long time. *grin* And I truly believe it is "merely" a chapter in my career, a leg of the journey as I sojourn this enigma I call life. Preparing for and passing this difficult exam is not an end-all-be-all. Evidenced by the fact that there are many DBAs out there who are smarter, faster and more accurate than I am. The small fact that not many people have passed this exam is probably more of a testament to its secrecy and high price tag. Which is why I emphasize that the OCM is a stage, a rung of the ladder. With that image in mind, my end goal is to be really good! I read and converse with "Oracle Experts" like Tom Kyte, Jonathan Lewis, Dave Ensor and a large number of others whom I will not list out; if possible, I hope to claim that caliber at some point in my life. I call it "Striving for Excellence".

And here comes a helping of Humble Pie. Sure, just like any other human, I want to puff up my chest of pride, I want the world to recognize how good I am. Reality check - I am not so good that the world would even notice. If there were a DBA version of American Idol, I am sure all three judges would say something like "It was ok". "Not great, dog". "Good, but not good enough".

But I yearn and strive to be really good at what I do. This blog is cast in the context of my job, an Oracle DBA; yet, in the rest of my life I strive for excellence as well. Father and husband are at the forefront, but also in serving my community and being active in local government. One of the biggest reasons for this desire goes back to my belief that there is a God (and I am not He); all my gifts and strengths I credit to my God. Without His blessing, without His favor, I am nothing. Hence, it only makes sense to use what I have to bring Him honor, to make good on His investment. All too painfully I am often aware that my life is sometimes at odds with this view; I screw up. I, like you and everyone else, make mistakes. So while my goal is to be excellent, I have to be careful in depicting the fact that I am not there, yet. It is a dance, a choreographed movement with my heavenly Partner who leads my steps.

This is why I strive for excellence, to do what I can to make the big guy upstairs look good. And believe you me, I am thankful that He allows me to continue, despite my wretched performance from time to time. So I proudly add this label, this certification, to my somewhat short list. I am happy to be an Oracle Certified Master. Very happy!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oracle has deemed me fit to be Certified as Master

Wow, what an awesome feeling!! More later - today I am busy telling folks and planning for the future. =)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A probing question

One of my OCM proctors (himself a 9i/10g OCM) poses this question to determine how well you understand Oracle architecture:
How does a transaction get processed in a Shared Server Installation?

The idea is that if you answer in a flat 5 minutes, you are screwed. =) One should first understand how a transaction is processed in a single-threaded (easy) environment, and then know the multi-threaded architecture well enough to incorporate knowledge of how a transaction is processed. He said that the answer should take about 30 minutes or so.

I bring this to light because I am making this one of my goals. I need goals to shoot for because I often find that I need a sense of direction. I am one of those people that, when mowing a lawn, cannot walk straight unless I set my eyes on my destination. Funny, that.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

OCM: wrapped up?

I still have not heard how my practicum was scored. I am hoping I passed - I think I did well enough to warrant it. I know there were a couple sections where I hit some Oracle bugs and it screwed me up a little, but I came back and didn't get sucked into the riptide.

A few things become apparent to me, as well. I really have to admit I prayed a lot during the test. =) I was reminded of St. John quoting Christ:
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Sure, I think I am hot stuff taking this prestiguous exam, but in all reality, I have to count my blessings. I have granted unique opportunities (essentially, the opportunity to be who I am). Yes, I made choices that shape me, but I truly believe that God opened up all the doors that let me come down this path, and He closed all doors to paths I have not, or could not, traverse.

Additionally, I have to consider what passing, or even taking, this practicum is all about. I wrote about this before, but I continue to think about it. I do have a burning desire to hone my skills, recognizing that I still have a long way to go. I want to be a better DBA, and I have many role models to look up. The folks at oracle-l are awesome, and I appreciate that many experienced and intelligent people have opened up their lives a little to less us mere mortals take a peek inside and glean some beneficial morsel here and there.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

OCM take 2

I was very glad to hear that my OCM was rescheduled. I am finding it much easier to practice now that I know exactly what is going on. Ironically, I decided to wipe out my test Oracle installation and, lo and behold, you can no longer download Oracle (and patch to I tried download but the agent is broken for Redhat Linux AS 4. That sucks. I found several helpful links from Google, but not quite the silver bullet.

Which brings me to another point. Why does Oracle
  1. use such an outdated version of the rdbms (one that is buggy to boot)?
  2. not provide the necessary software for downloading?
  3. in general, why is support for Linux so shoddy?

The last one is a prickling one - see my other post about Oracle Linux Support.

But, just in case you were getting the idea that I was being critical and unappreciative, let me make it very clear that I am very happy and very excited to take another stab at the OCM. I have been practicing a few times over the break, and continue to do so. Should be good. What happens if there is another "technical difficulty"? *grin*

In closing, I am very curious what the 10g OCM is like. Our proctor, Jay Norton, had a primary role in writing and creating the 10g OCM, and he said it was even more difficult than the 9i practicum. Does Oracle Education offer a fee waiver or subsidy upgrade OCMs? =)